Beach Landscape

Oil on academy board
8 1/4 x 12 inches
Circa 1925
Work on loan: Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

As published in:
Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

Callaloo, 2018, volume 39, number 5

As exhibited in:
Elevation from Within: The Study of Art at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 2019–2024, TJC Gallery, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 2019; Richardson Family Art Museum, Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 2021; Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, 2022, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, 2023, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, 2024

Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection, 2015–2018, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia; McKissick Museum of Art at the University of South Carolina, Columbia; Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia; Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee; Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina

James V. Herring was a tremendous force for the education and promotion of African American artists beginning in the 1920s when the Harlem Renaissance was in its ascendancy. He spent the majority of his career at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In addition to his campus activities, in 1943 Herring co-founded the Barnett Aden Gallery. The first integrated exhibition space in the city, the gallery’s emphasis was on art for the home—small to moderate size pieces by both black and white artists.

Because of his numerous commitments, it is little wonder that Herring’s oeuvre is rather limited. Stylistically, he leaned toward an impressionistic approach characterized by thick impasto. Beach Landscape is a small painting on board, probably created as a plein air sketch. It is noteworthy that Herring preferred landscape subjects, eschewing representations that might easily be defined as “African American.”